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Here’s a powerful anecdotal lead to a story about Brazil’s murder rate and gun laws by NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro: “At the dilapidated morgue in the northern Brazilian city of Natal, Director Marcos Brandao walks over the blood-smeared floor to where the corpses are kept.
It sets the tone and pace and direction for everything that follows.
It is the puzzle piece on which the rest of the story depends.
This kind of lead works well for hard news and breaking news.
Some examples: “After mass street protests in Poland, legislators with the country’s ruling party have abruptly reversed their positions and voted against a proposal to completely ban abortion.” (By NPR’s Camila Domonoske)“The European Parliament voted Tuesday to ratify the landmark Paris climate accord, paving the way for the international plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions to become binding as soon as the end of this week.” (By NPR’s Rebecca Hersher) All three leads sum up the news in a straightforward, clear way — in a single sentence.
I will be talking more about these things in my paper.
In the introduction above, the opening line does not serve to grab the reader’s attention.It has not been a particularly bad night, yet there are nine shooting victims in cold storage.” We understand right away that the story will be about a high rate of gun-related murder in Brazil. Byrd Pinkerton, a 2016 NPR intern, didn’t set foot in this obscure scholarly haven, but you’d never guess it from the way she draws readers into her story: “On the second floor of an old Bavarian palace in Munich, Germany, there’s a library with high ceilings, a distinctly bookish smell and one of the world’s most extensive collections of Latin texts. It means you, the writer, are immediately a character in your own story. Just make sure you are bringing your readers along with you.And this is a much more vivid and gripping way of conveying it than if Lulu had simply stated that the rate of gun violence is high. About 20 researchers from all over the world work in small offices around the room.” This scene-setting is just one benefit of Byrd’s thorough reporting. Here, in the spirit of first-personhood, is an example from one of my own stories: On a historic date, I was in a place where very few Americans were present, meaning I’m able to serve as a guide to that place and time.Below is a sample of an introduction that is less effective because it doesn’t apply the principles discussed above. Some people use math on the job as adults, and others used math when they were kids.The topic I have chosen to write about for this paper is how I use math in my life both as a child and as an adult. And it shouldn’t be the same as your radio intro, which t of hot type) is to make the reader want to stay and spend some precious time with whatever you’ve written. The lead is the introduction — the first sentences — that should pique your readers’ interest and curiosity.Rather than stating I was in Afghanistan in the first sentence, I tried to draw in readers by reminding them that the memory of Sept.11 is something many of us share in common, regardless of where we were that day.The introduction has three essential parts, each of which serves a particular purpose.Although for short essays the introduction is usually just one paragraph, longer argument or research papers may require a more substantial introduction.